Imagine you and your friends are organizing a Dandiya Night. In an ideal scenario, how would you go about planning the event? You’ll probably have a to-do list, complete with everyone’s responsibilities. Work will be divided and every person will be responsible for at least one task. Sharing the workload is an efficient way to speed up the planning process. 

Equal distribution of work, everyone taking responsibility for their individual tasks, and efficient utilization of resources are some of the principles of effective delegation. 

Here are some of the secrets behind sharing responsibilities and delegating authority.

What Is Delegation Of Authority?

Before we understand the principles of delegation of authority, let’s look at what ‘delegating authority’ means in the first place. Put simply, it is the process of sharing responsibilities with others and trusting them to fulfill a set of objectives.

More often than we realize, the principles of delegation of authority regulate our everyday lives. It’s especially evident in businesses where managers and team leaders need to delegate authority quite regularly. Delegation helps spread out the workload and increases productivity because employees are motivated by individual ownership and responsibility.  

Principles Of Effective Delegation

Delegation of responsibility can be very effective once you understand how to delegate properly. Here are some constructive principles of delegation in management you can follow for successful performance:

1. Principles Of Delegation: Functional Definition

When delegating authority, there should be clarity regarding the tasks to complete, the methods of operation and the expected results. Further, goals and targets should be clearly defined. For example, if the marketing team is expected to prepare two social media posts every day, the team leader should communicate and allocate responsibility to every person on the team.

2. Principles Of Delegation: Unity Of Command

According to this principle, every individual should be solely accountable to someone. This gives a sense of personal responsibility because that individual is ultimately answerable to someone. Although it’s possible for someone to be accountable to multiple people, it’s best to avoid that as it can create complications and conflict. For example, if a team has two leaders, then every employee should be answerable to only one leader at any given time.

3. Principles Of Delegation: Absoluteness Of Responsibility

This principle states that a person can delegate authority but not responsibility. If a manager has delegated their authority to someone on their team, the manager can’t turn a blind eye to mishaps or hurdles later. The ultimate responsibility remains with the manager. For example, if you’ve taken some time off and your employees make some changes to an ongoing project, you should validate those changes in order to finalize them.

4. Principles Of Delegation: Authority And Responsibility

There should be a balance between authority and responsibility. If someone is given the responsibility to carry out a task, then you should give them enough independence to carry out the task effectively. On the other hand, you shouldn’t give the person so much authority that they may abuse their positions. 

5. Principles Of Delegation: Authority Level

Authority should always be well-defined. To avoid any overlaps, there should be a clear indication of everybody’s roles. Moreover, one can’t delegate authority unless that person is clear about the scope of their own authority. For example, if you’re responsible for shortlisting new candidates for your team, you can’t ask others to perform that task for you. Maybe they could assist you in rejecting the applications that don’t meet the minimum requirements, but that’s about it.

6. Principles Of Delegation: Scalar Principle

The scalar principle emphasizes the need for a chain of direct authority relationships throughout an organization. It helps to understand where everyone stands in the organization in relation to another. Knowing this also helps people quickly reach out to the right person in case of any emergencies. This principle is especially useful in places with flat organizational structures, where hierarchy isn’t very prominent.

7. Principles Of Delegation: Principle Of Proper Motivation

When you motivate someone through rewards and recognition, they’re bound to push themselves harder and perform better. This process is called ‘positive reinforcement’ in psychology. You should provide incentives so that others are motivated to take responsibility willingly. Acknowledging a person’s efforts can make a big difference.


Sharing work and delegating authority isn’t an easy task. You should delegate responsibilities methodically. Harappa Education’s Navigating Workplaces course will teach you how to understand your workplace culture. The Power Structure framework will help you learn about how authority is exercised by understanding the different powers people hold. Moreover, the Thomas Kilmann model will teach you how to manage conflicts, if any, in the best possible way. 

Explore topics such as Delegation of Authority, the Process of DelegationEmployee Engagement StrategiesRapport Building & Group Formation Stages such as from our Harappa Diaries section and build trust-rich relationships.

Related articles

Discover more from Harappa with a selection of trending blogs on the latest topics in online learning and career transformation